Published: Sun, December 09, 2018
Markets | By Erika Turner

Hundreds of 'yellow vest' protesters are detained in Paris

Hundreds of 'yellow vest' protesters are detained in Paris

Saturday, Nov 17, is the first day of road blockades across France with almost 290,000 demonstrators wearing the fluorescent yellow vests motorists are required to carry in their cars. Reports say at least 135 people have been injured.

A ring of steel surrounded the Elysee Palace as police stationed trucks and reinforced steel barriers in streets throughout the entire neighbourhood. French riot police repeatedly repelled them with tear gas and water cannon.

Officers fired rubber bullets and hundreds of canisters of tear gas at the demonstrators, some of whom had set several vehicles on fire. More than 500 were detained in the city, said a Paris police spokeswoman, The Associated Press reported.

While scattered scuffles broke out on Saturday around central Paris, the action seemed less violent overall at noon than at the same time a week ago, when crowds defaced the Arc de Triomphe, one of the city's most revered monuments, and rampaged in the surrounding high-end neighbourhood.

In addition to the closure of the Eiffel Tower, many shops and museums across Paris, including the Louvre, the Orsay Museum and the Grand Palais, will be shut on Saturday for safety reasons.

Many shops were boarded up to avoid looting and street furniture and construction site materials have been removed to prevent them from being used as projectiles. Subway stations in the city centre closed and the USA embassy warned citizens to avoid all protest areas.

Around 70 people were arrested Saturday, December 8 in the Belgian capital Brussels during copycat "yellow vest" demonstrations rocking neighboring France, police said.

While the protests began over fuel taxes, they have snowballed into a wider movement against Macron, largely among people in small-town and rural France.

After two weekends of violence in Paris that made the authorities look powerless to secure their capital, police went into overdrive on Saturday to keep a lid on unrest.

Police frisked people or searched bags throughout central Paris, and confiscated gas masks and protective goggles from AP journalists.

French gendarmes apprehend a protester during clashes at a demonstration by the
France gears up to face new riots; Paris shuts down

Protesters who came to Paris from Normandy described seeing officers block yellow-vested passengers from boarding at stops along their route. The national gendarme service posted a video on Twitter of police tackling a protester and confiscating his risky material, which appeared to be primarily a tennis racket.

The demonstrators began blockading roads over rising fuel taxes on November 17 but their list of demands have since grown, with many calling for the resignation of Macron, whom they accuse of favouring the rich. In total, Castaner claimed that 125,000 people had taken part in the Yellow Vest protests across the country.

About 89,000 police were deployed across the country.

"We can not take the risk when we know the threat", Culture Minister Franck Riester told RTL radio, according to Reuters.

Nearly 1,000 people have been taken into custody nationwide.

Defending the treatment of the children, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner aid: "Over the past few days, the students have been joined by about 100 hooded youths armed with clubs and incendiary devices and determined to pick a fight with police".

Major security measures in place ahead of fresh "yellow vest" protests which authorities fear could turn violent for a second weekend in a row.

Four people have died in accidents during the protests and political leaders have appealed for calm. Top-flight football matches and concerts were cancelled.

Saturday's yellow vest crowd was overwhelmingly male, a mix of those bringing their financial grievances to Paris-the center of France's government, economy and culture-along with groups of apparently experienced vandals, who tore steadily through some of the city's wealthiest neighborhoods, smashing and burning.

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But their geographic locations make them ideal to "house long-range missiles", they said in a report they were preparing. Despite the deadlock, Trump has said he and Kim are "getting along very well" and have a "good relationship".

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